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Alice was ushered into a room to herself. A cluster of nurses swarmed around the group asking questions that none of them could answer honestly. Once separated from the rest the head nurse circled her.
"How did this happen Sweetie?" She asked leaning toward Alice's right side. She gently poked at her swollen flesh and then went to grab and ice pack. Alice shrugged when her back was turned.
"I don't know, it all happened so fast. We had just come out of the movies when we were attacked." Now that the adrenaline had worn off she could feel just how much pain she was in. She winced as the nurse press the ice pack to her face. The cold gel felt good against her hot skin. The nurse asked her a few more questions in which she carefully danced around the truth. After an half hour or so she was finally allowed to go back to the others. She watched Kihyun's face as he looked at her. She didn't know how bad she actually looked, and she didn't really want to know.
"When can we leave? My dad is going to be freaking out soon."
"Alice, you realize that if I go in with this girl they'll think [i I] did something to her right?" Asked Kihyun as he got to the jeep and maneuvered the more injured of the two of them into the back seat. "I'm shirtless and bloody at that, they'll think I did something to her," he said. "And plus, the more people the better," he said. "She needs a familiar face to be around when she comes to," he said. "Now come on," he said, helping Alice into the back seat. "The adrenaline is fading, so even if you say you're fine you're not," he said, moving to get into the driver's seat. He rolled down the window when Minhyuk came over, rearing up to put his paws on the door.
[i She may know too much], said Minhyuk. [i You know what to do], he said. Kihyun nodded, patting Minhyuk on the head. "I'll see you either at home or at the hospital," he said. Minhyuk moved away, and Kihyun drove to the hospital.
Nurses rushed over once Kihyun explained that something had happened, bringing a stretcher and taking the girl with the head wound into the emergency room. They had to drive pretty far, pretty much into a town two towns over. There was only a clinic in their small town, and Kihyun didn't want more people asking questions. He was just glad they took his explanation in stride, the nurses more concerned about the head wound more than anything.
Alice shook her head as she helped stabilize the tall girl against the wolf's side. Her tears were starting to dry on her cheeks. She crossed her arms over her chest. The last place she wanted to go to was the hospital.
"I'm fine. Just bruised, nothing happened to me." She assured them. She could feel the shock and adrenaline start to wear off. Her heart was slowing in her chest and she was thankful for that. She ran a shaky hand through her hair and took a deep breath. Lifting her chin she set her jaw.
"I really need to just go home. I'll tell my day I got in a fight with one of the other girls or something at the movie theater."
"Kihyun, my name is Kihyun," said Kihyun. "We've met before, though you saw me as a wolf," he said. "I'm a medic of sorts, let me take a look," he said, taking off his shirt and ripping it into rags to see what he could do to stop the bleeding. "Keep pressure here," he said as he noticed a head wound wrapping it up before going to check the others for bite marks.
"God damn it," he cursed, moving away from the wall. "These girls were bit," he cursed again, turning to Changkhyun after he and the others had finished the fighting. They had managed to get by relatively unscathed, the 5 wolves sneezing from the ashes of the now dead vampires. Changkhyun whined, wondering if everyone was okay. Kihyun shook his head. "Two of them were bit," he said. Changkhyun bared his teeth in response, a snarl escaping him.
"I don't want to do it either," grumbled Kihyun as he turned away, punching the wall. There was a silent conversation passing through them, Minhyuk relaying what was being said.
An agonizing 5 minutes passed before Kihyun huffed out a sigh. "Fine," he said. "I'm taking the two to the hospital," he said, jerking his thumb in Alice and the other girl's direction. "Just... Just do what you have to do okay?" He asked, turning his back to Changkhyun and the other wolves.
"Come on," he said to Alice. "We need to get you and your friend to the hospital," he said. "The other two will be fine," he added, as reassuringly as he could. Changkhyun shifted from one foot to the other, small whines escaping him. "We'll go, we'll go," said Kihyun as he gently encouraged Alice to stand, helping the girl with the head wound up by slinging an arm around his shoulder. "Come on, we need to get to the hospital," he said.
Alice's eyes fluttered open to an unfamiliar face. Fear slammed into her causing her to jolt and struggle to get to her feet. The stranger gripped her shoulders and shushed her the best they could. After a few moments she realized what was happening. They were being saved by Changkyun and his pack. Tears streamed down her bruised cheek and every breath she took she fought for. The ally was filled with wolves growling, snapping their powerful jaws, and agonized grunts and screams. Her human eyes struggled to keep track of all of the movement. She refocused herself on the stranger.
"Who are you?" She questioned, insisting on getting to her feet. She hated that they had been taken so easily. She wanted to call out to Changkhyun, but she stopped herself. A shiver raced down her spine at the thought that he could get her on the account of her. He never should have come.
She didn't wait for the stranger to answer. She pushed herself away from him and against the wall. There was no where for her to run, at least somewhere that would only lead to more problems. She and the other girls were pinned between wolves fighting what looked to be humans and a brick wall. Alice slid on the other side of the stranger and pulled the tallest girl into her lap. Her lip was swollen and her eye was red and puffy. When Alice smoothed her hair her hand came back bloodied. The other two girls plastered themselves against a wall and a dumpster. She could hear their sobs over the fighting. A circlet of bites framed the smaller ones neck. The tallest girl had the same marks, her breathing was shallow. Alice's tears fell faster and she held the other girl tighter.
Changkhyun felt that feeling increase, and he had to stop the jeep. His wolf was clawing at the surface of his mind and finally understood this feeling. Alice was in danger. He quickly sped off, heading towards town where he was sure she was. He had gotten word through the grapevine that she had gone to the movies tonight thanks to Jake's girlfriend who had been gossiping about it all week. Some new hype movie or something.
"Shownu, I think there's something wrong," he said into the phone as he speed dialed his guardian. "[i What's happening]?" Asked Shownu. "Whoever showed up, is messing with Alice," growled Changkhyun as he pushed the limits of his jeep to get there as quickly as possible. Damn Cole for having his house in the middle of nowhere outside of town. "[i I'm on my way, be careful]," said Shownu before he hung up.
"Please don't be too late, please don't be too late," grumbled Changkhyun as he sped around the corner, tires screeching as he arrived onto the main street of the town. He sped forward, slamming on the breaks as he came upon the group. He had enough sense to put the jeep into park before hopping out. "Oi!" He shouted, getting the attention of the would be kidnappers.
"Oh look, one of the mutts came for his mate," sneered one of the captors. "I'd avoid pissing me off if I were you," growled Changkhyun. "You and what army?" Asked the person who had Alice captive.
Changkhyun had to stay levelheaded, biding his time before Shownu and the others arrived. Just how much time he needed however, he was unsure of. He never faced off against vampires before his power had activated, but he was damn ready to attack. As soon as he had backup at least.
Shownu's large wolf form came into view, Minhyuk and Wonho behind him. A snarl came from Shownu as he bared his teeth in a challenge. Kihyun and Jooheon walked into view from behind the jeep, their wolf forms poised and ready to attack as soon as Changkhyun gave the command.
"Let the girls go, and get out of here," spat Changkhyun. "I should've known some leeches would be responsible for this crap," he growled. There wasn't much room in the alley, but they needed to make this work. He decided to say "screw it" and change, his wolf taking complete control as the rage ensued. He immediately launched himself at the vampires, Shownu, Minhyuk and Wonho immediately following suit. Jooheon soon joined the fight with Kihyun going to change and get dressed, immediately going to check on the girls to see if they were alright.
Kihyun started with Alice first, gently shaking her awake. "Hey, Alice, hello, earth to the human," he said.
After the movie Alice followed her friends out of the theater. The group lingered ahead of her, their heads bent excitedly chatting about this and that. She couldn't force herself to pretend to be interested. She felt as though a part of her, an important part of her, was far away. She hugged herself against the Maine chill and trudged behind. As they passed a row of small shops separated by alleys a group of shadows cut the girls off.
"Excuse you." The tallest girl snarled. She played basketball as well as ran track. She was backed by the others closest to her. Alice whirled in time to see two more shadows block their retreat. The two behind her were mountain-like women with hair past their hips. Their faces were broad and pointed. The sandy blonde one smiled softly and looked away from her. The other with redish-brown hair, freckles, and a scar on her cheek locked her gaze with Alice's. She could hear men's voices behind her, but she couldn't hear what was being said over the sound of her heart. A needle thin scream pierced the air and the women pounced. Alice rammed her elbow as hard as she could into a pair of ribs. She tried to scratch and kick at the pair as they grabbed her. The tall girl that was apart of their group lay in a heap on the sidewalk. One of the men was picking her up while the other two were being dragged into the alley. The more she struggled the more the hands tightened around her arms. Tears were brought to her eyes as she could feel her flesh bruising.
The leader of the group stepped forward. She didn't see the slap coming, but she felt it as her vision blurred and stars danced around her head. She tried to blink away the consciousness, but the darkness took her.
"You didn't have to come if you feel this uncomfortable you know," said Jake as he handed Changkhyun a beer. "I'm fine," said Changkhyun. "I needed to get out of the house," he said. "It's alright," said Jake. "Not much of a party this time huh?" He asked. Changkhyun snorts. "Not this time," he said. "Maybe next party there will be more people," he said, taking a sip of his beer. "Yeah, now that you actually bothered showing up," said Jake.
"I'll go home early tonight, stuff to do, you know," said Changkhyun. "My uncle's back so curfews and things," he said. "Just be careful," said Jake. "Missing hikers and things," he said. "Yeah yeah," said Changkhyun as he finished his beer. "Wherever Cole is tell him I went home alright?" He asked. "Sure," said Jake. Changkhyun then left, getting in his jeep and driving home.
Something was bothering him and he wasn't sure what. Some gut feeling he had that something bad was going to happen and he knew he couldn't do a thing about it. Maybe it was because of hunters being in town. He was never too sure about these things.
Alice showered and dressed for the movie. She curled her hair and pulled it away from her face in a short ponytail. Her hair nearly reached her shoulders and she contemplated cutting it or letting it grow. Most of the girls on her track team had long dark hair that they tied away from their faces in buns or low ponytails. Each had pale skin and harsher features. She wondered if a lot of them had native blood pumping through their veins. The small group of girls met her outside of the theater. She watched them nearly prance in place at her arrival. Getting out and joining them, she had to focus to remember their names. It would take her a week or more to learn their names perfectly as their coach called them by nicknames or their last names. Softly Alice is dragged inside. She pays for her ticket and popcorn in a daze. Changkhyun was still in her mind, his wolf's eyes staring into hers. Gooseflesh prickled her skin as she follows the group to their seats, the air conditioned room making her chilly.
"He probably never gets cold," she thought to herself as the preview started and she forced herself to look interested in the images ahead of her.
When Changkhyun got back to the house with Minhyuk, Shownu was there in the livingroom with a stern look on his face. It softened slightly when seeing their youngest but everyone could tell he was going to give an alpha's talk. Something like this was only reserved for when something serious came up, and judging from Shownu's expression it was really serious.
"I know you haven't been noticed, I had a talk with the new judge," said Shownu once everyone was settled around the kitchen table while Changkhyun and Minhyuk were working on homework. "However, this is getting serious, if there really is a new pack out there we'll see them soon," he said.
"What do you suppose we do about it?" Asked Changkhyun as he looked up from his work. "Continue like normal, if this is a werewolf pack they stepped in the wrong territory," said Shownu. "Apparently there's a missing hiker out there," he said. "If they're still alive I need you to find them Minhyuk," he said. Minhyuk nodded. "I'll do my best," he said. "Wonho, you're going with him," said Shownu. "Got it," said Wonho as he nodded.
Changkhyun got a text from Cole, saying there was a party that night at his place. "A party huh?" He asked as he looked up at Shownu. "Go," said Shownu. "Maybe you can find some new "friends," he said. "And for the love of god, don't get black out drunk this time," he added. Changkhyun snorts before nodding as he finished his work before going to change for the party.
"A reputation to keep is a reputation to keep then," mumbled Changkhyun as he sat in his jeep after getting dressed for the party. He watched as Minhyuk and Wonho headed out into the forest to change and go find this missing hiker before starting the jeep and backing out of the driveway before driving off, heading to the party.
Alice's phone buzzed to life as she carefully backed out of her parking space. The bright screen blinked out a message from another girl on the track team. Today's practice had left her warm and covered in a thin layer of sweat. The text message asked if she wanted to go see a movie with a few of the other girls on the team. Quickly she taps out her answer and enters the flow of traffic. There was a gap between her and Changkhyun now, and she needed to do something, anything, to get her mind off of him. Alice's blood chilled as she thought about him sitting alone, his black hair slowly greying and his flawless face aging. Why did she care? She owed him nothing, she didn't even know him. Swallowing around a lump in her throat.
Alice's thumb trails over his name in her phone, tempted to tack out a message to him. Chewing her lip, she somehow resists and tosses her phone in the passenger side. Why was this so hard? Was she really that easy? Once at home she showers quickly and dresses for her night out. Outside of her window she could hear the distant yips of wolves and her mind floated back to him. Was he out there running with his pack? She wondered what that would feel like, turning into a completely different form and charging through the forest unbridled.
Changkhyun was indifferent about all the rumors, not wanting to give his take in everything unlike before. Going to class just felt like clockwork now, and he dismissed all the rumors about him getting in trouble and having to be on house arrest.
When it came time to be in the class with Alice Changkhyun and Minhyuk were running late. A fight had broke out between Jake and Cole and two other people and Changkhyun went to defend them because he couldn't see his two best human friends get beat up like that. Minhyuk managed to keep them from getting in trouble, changing everyone's thoughts to not involve them in the fight.
They rushed into class just behind the teacher, going to sit down at the usual table with Alice. There was a nervous energy coming off of Minhyuk and Changkhyun, more due to the fight but other than that they were both ready for the presentation.
The presentation went well, and Changkhyun wasn't nervous at all during it. He had practiced the presentation in front of his packmates until they deemed him ready for it. Minhyuk kept his expression neutral, but spoke in a friendly tone, making a sort of game out of it. Minhyuk would be manipulating the grade like usual, but not by much. He already knew they passed, judging from the teacher's thoughts.
After school Changkhyun finally checked his phone to see a text from Shownu. Apparently he was called into the courthouse to speak with the new judge about this wolf pack problem. "We were noticed it seems," said Changkhyun as he sat in the driver's seat of his jeep. "It can't be us," said Minhyuk as he sat in the passenger seat. "If it was us then I think they would've said something sooner," he said.
"We're too careful in our runs to even get noticed, a new pack must've moved in without us noticing," said Changkhyun as he put his phone on the dock before starting the jeep and backing out of his parking spot. He then drove off, going to get food before heading home. "It would seem so," said Minhyuk.
"I don't know what to say about this wolf pack," said Shownu as he shrugged. "I understand the concern since it's a small town surrounded by forest but honestly the wolves haven't done anything," he said. "If there is indeed a missing hiker out there then my adopted son, my nephew and my brothers can help find them," he said.
It felt as though her entire day revolved around her history class. That every waking moment she had was spent sitting in the same boring bright desk staring at the classroom door waiting for him. Somehow she knew he would waltz in like nothing happened, maybe answer a few questions with well rehearsed lies and then take his seat. Would he take his seat on the opposite side of the room or would he join Minhyuk and her? Huffing, she turns away from the doorframe and starts tracing her usual lazy circles on her paper. She needed something else to get him off her mind. The night before had been hell sleeping, her mind just wouldn't shut up. She wanted to know what he would say to defend his absence. She felt like she was part of a secret society, carrying around a secret that wasn't hers. Speaking that secret aloud would get her committed, or worse laughed at. No one wanted to talk to the crazy girl that believed teenagers turned into wolves.
Rumors passed from mouth to mouth like legends. She keeps one ear on the whispers and her eyes trained on her paper. She learns that one of the more popular girls is accused of sleeping with the football star at a party. Changkyun's name was spoken several times, and then it was on to homework, hated teachers, and who won a fight. Alice wanted to be in the middle of it all. A deep longing to be the source of the rumors filled her chest and the lines of her circles deepened. Sauntering into the room, the teacher calls attention like normal and begins reading off of her clipboard the prestation order. Pulling out her notecards, Alice skims through the facts she had written down before scanning the room.
Maybe he was a bit harsh, but Minhyuk was being rather depressed about this situation. Minhyuk's mate had rejected him after learning about everything. He didn't want it to happen to Changkhyun, and everyone could see that. Changkhyun wondered when Shownu was coming back, needing some advice from the oldest in their pack as he went to bed that night, his thoughts somewhere else, making sleep almost impossible.
The next morning Minhyuk drove them to school, the both of them sitting in silence. "Are you okay Minhyuk?" Changkhyun finally asked as they sat in Changkhyun's parking spot. "I'll be alright," said Minhyuk. "I can't keep dwelling on stuff that happened in the past," he said. "You're lucky you got something that simple as a power," said Changkhyun as he got out of the jeep. Minhyuk hummed, getting out after Changkhyun. They went into the school, with Changkhyun handing the doctor's note to the office secretary before going to hang in a somewhat secluded spot.
Word got around quickly about their resident party goer's return, everyone wondering what had happened to him.
Shaking her head, Alice turns and starts back toward the house. Dry leaves and twigs crunch and snap under her shoes as she picks her way along the path. He was right. She hadn't seen half of what he had, but that didn't really mean anything. He needed to let the past go if he was going to move forward. As for his part of the homework, she really didn't care about that either. Any concern expressed on her part about his grade was more about him being presenting with them. Sighing again, she wondered how her perfect year had gotten so complicated so quickly. As for him moving, she wasn't sure if she could miss someone she didn't know. The connection between the two of them just wasn't there. Also it occurred to her that he would rather make assumptions than educate her or talk about himself.
Blowing hot breath through her nose, she marches up the porch steps, gathers her homework, and returns to her room. Alice's room had become her sanctuary. Sitting at a mahogany desk, she finishes her homework for the night and gets ready for bed. Part of her dreaded the day to come. As she laid awake staring at her ceiling, she wasn't sure if it was because she would have to see him or if it was because she just didn't want to go.
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